Self-Checkout Purchase of Alcohol Still Prohibited Despite California Grocer’s Petition

On January 1, 2012 California Business & Professions Code Section 23394.7 took effect prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages at customer-operated checkout stands.  On December 23, 2011, prior to the enactment of this provision, the California ABC issued an Industry Advisory providing guidance to retailers in complying with the new law.  This was promptly followed on December 28, 2011 by the California Grocer’s Association filing a petition for writ of mandate with the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento to stay the advisory on the basis it was not a proper interpretation of the law.

While the 3rd District has temporarily stayed the Advisory pending a full hearing on the matter, the law remains in full effect.  Historically, ABC has not enforced a statute or rule that is the subject of an appeal or writ.  However, it is unclear as to how the ABC may proceed given that, even though the Advisory has been stayed, the underlying law that is the subject of the Advisory remains in full effect.  Accordingly, retailers continuing the sale of alcoholic beverages at self-checkout stands do so at their own risk.

For further information or assistance on California ABC matters contact Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty at [email protected].

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